Rocket Shop 8/10/2011: Don Sheldon & Valley Stage 2011

donsheldon Words by Courtney Folden. Photo by John Powell.

Who doesn’t love a great music festival, especially one where families are encouraged and the setting is as picturesque as the Green Mountains? That is exactly what Don Sheldon was thinking when he began The Valley Stage Music Festival in Huntington, Vermont. Don took his inspiration from Levon Helm who would host monthly, invitation only, gigs in his home. Don was able to attend one of these sessions and began thinking that he wanted to share great music with his friends and neighbors in a like manner. Unfortunately, his house didn’t afford the necessary space, so he looked outside. The view was divine with a natural amphitheater and the Green Mountains in the background. So, he made it happen.

Five years ago Sweet Valley Music Festival began, and 2011 brings whole new roster of musicians. When asked about how he chooses musicians for the festival, he says he picks “who I would want to hear and think people would want to hear.” Don has recruited some great musicians and groups for this year’s festival including Danny Barnes (, Round Mountain (, Stone Cold Roosters (, The String Fingers (, and Katie Trautz ( There will also be vendors on-site to serve up some local fare as well as a silent auction. Gates open at 12:30 in the afternoon. Just follow the dancing fox signs off the Richmond exit. For more information or to keep up with Valley Stage, log onto their website at

The Rocket Shop playlist: Danny Barnes, "Caveman" String Fingers Band, "The Deal" Danny Barnes, "Misty Swan" Round Mountain, "Maitreya" String Fingers Band, "Blackberry Blossom - Carrie Brown" Cameo Harlot, "Holmes, Sweet Holmes" Paul Simon, "African Skies" Villanelles, "Heavy Breathing" Strangefolk, "Leave a Message" Mr. Dooley, "Valley of the Sun"